Jobless graduates plough back in their community

Academy helps struggling pupils to overcome odds

Steven Molapisi,Thato Seale,Ofentse Molebatsi,Kgalalelo Mokgalipi, Khanyisile Ndlovu,Karabo Mabelane,Nkele Morake and Amogelang Steyn at the Acadia Academy School Saturday School in Letlhabile.
Steven Molapisi,Thato Seale,Ofentse Molebatsi,Kgalalelo Mokgalipi, Khanyisile Ndlovu,Karabo Mabelane,Nkele Morake and Amogelang Steyn at the Acadia Academy School Saturday School in Letlhabile.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

A group of unemployed graduates and youth from Letlhabile outside Brits, North West, have been helping pupils who are struggling with their school work. 

The brainchild behind the initiative is 24-year-old Amogelang Steyn, who repeated his Grade 9 three times as a result of his mischievous ways. Seeing that a lot of children wasted time on the streets and doing drugs, he started the Acadia Academy in 2011 to help the pupils with homework and subjects they are struggling with. 

Sowetan visited the academy at the weekend about 100 pupils from grades R to 11 were being taught in four classrooms. The classes were decorated with learning materials and the windows’ blinds were creatively made out of paper.  

Steyn said he wasted a lot of time and didn’t want others to go through what he did. 

“I never experienced fatherly love and I was raised by my mother alone. I mixed with the wrong crowd and ended up misbehaving, which affected my school work. I had no one to help me with my homework or with the difficult subjects I was struggling with at school.

“After I lost my mother, I decided to change my life for the better and concentrate on my studies. When I passed Grade 12, I realised that there were a lot of unemployed graduates sitting at home doing nothing,” he said. 

He approached them with the idea of the academy to get children off the streets and give them support they might need with their school work. 

Steven Molapisi, 21, an unemployed IT graduate who is managing the academy, said: “We have a problem of substance abuse in our area. However, when I joined the academy, I was able to overcome those challenges. There were people who helped me with my school work and I have seen much improvement in my marks.” 

Karabo Mabelane, 26, a professional photographer, said the academy helped him a lot with mathematics as he was struggling with the subject. “When I struggled to get a job, I decided to come and help here at the academy. We have a lot of kids who need assistance, especially now because they don’t attend school on a full-time basis. They are getting a lot of homework and we provide them with all the support they need.”  

The pupils, who are from different schools in the area, said the academy was helping them a lot. 

Audrey Mabasa, 16, a Grade 11 pupil, told Sowetan she joined the academy when she was in Grade 6. “When I came here, I struggled with maths and I used to get low marks. That has since changed. At school it’s difficult for teachers to give us individual attention but here at the academy we get help with our subjects.”

Leago Moenise, 15, a Grade 9 pupil, said the academy helped him with maths, English and economics. 

The academy does not have funding or a stipend for the graduates and uses the local library for research. 

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